1. any heavenly body.
2. a person's destiny, temperament, etc.

Whether you’re reading this because you’re gluten intolerant, suffer from PVFS or CFS, are starting to grow your own veggies, embracing natural and/or alternative remedies, or just want to enjoy the journey with us, please remember I’m not a medical expert, nor am I here to debate global warming. Being diagnosed with a life-changing illness, looking for answers or changing the way one lives can all be overwhelming events, so I hope that by sharing the triumphs and tragedies, you too will benefit in some way from our journey.

I hope you enjoy the journey and if you leave this blog having learnt only one new recipe or started to think about finding your star, then this blog’s purpose has been served.

My two favourite sayings:
Pondering the choices we make at the crossroads is like revision in the school of life. Regretting the mistakes or taking for granted the successes means we have learnt nought.
An attentive student will gain wisdom from the mistakes and joy from the successes. Cartillyer – 2008

'Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.' Mohandas Gandhi

Friday, August 31, 2012

What's Your PB?

One of the wonderful things about raising kids is that I’m often enlightened as much as they are – sometimes more than they are (especially since we started this journey).

Boywonder thoroughly enjoyed watching and learning about the various sports during the 2012 Olympics. Unfortunately, the media’s deplorable attack on all of our athletes who didn’t win gold also had an effect on Boywonder. He began believing that it was only about winning gold medals – an attitude that bothered me greatly.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, said, ‘In these Olympiads, the important thing is not winning but taking part. […] What counts in life is not the victory, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to conquer but to fight well.’1

I wondered how to make this easier for a seven year old to comprehend, so I told him the following.

Everyone in the race plays an important role.

Those ahead of us inspire us to go faster, higher, further.

Those behind us push us to go faster, higher, further.

And the challenges don’t stop if we win. The greatest challenge is being at the top – inspiring all of those behind us to reach higher and feeling genuine joy for those who surpass us – but the most important challenge is improving our PB (personal best).

My next challenge was explaining what a PB was.

I didn’t want it to be all about times or measurements on a physical level, because it’s more than that. It’s appreciating how far you’ve come, regardless of your position at the end of the race. It’s finding joy in a tedious task or the beauty in an ugly situation. It’s improving yourself one step at a time, physically, mentally and/or emotionally.

After much thought, I realised:

‘Your PB is your goal. Whether it’s to run faster, laugh more, work harder, or simply be nicer to your siblings, it’s something you work towards and enjoy when you reach it. Once you reach it, you set another one. The more PBs you set and reach in life, the more you realise that a gold medal is just one possible PB in a much greater experience – your life.’

Okay, so he lost interest when I went all philosophical on him, but it did leave me wondering how much happier everyone would be if we all set and reached our own simple PBs. They don’t have to be Olympic achievements.

Whether it’s making a point of always smiling when we say hello to people, losing two kilograms, increasing our sprint time, or donating more time to a charity, it’s the continual setting and reaching PBs that improve the wellbeing of ourselves, and, more often than not, those around us.

Happiness doesn’t come from a fancy new toy that soon loses its appeal and is left in the corner with the other toys; it’s a seed that is planted deep within us. The more it’s nurtured (i.e. the more PBs we set and reach), the more it grows, and before you know it, its roots are so firmly implanted that even if there are days when circumstances lop its branches off, it will return and it will continue to grow as you continue to set and reach your own PBs.

1 Revue Olympique, July 1908, p.110. (from a speech given during the London Olympic Games in 1908)

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